Thank you, Maine Legislature, for providing a New Century Grant to the Abbott Memorial Library and Dexter Historical Society for the creation of a database of obituaries from the Eastern Gazette in Dexter. Currently, the project is working from 1944 forward, but eventually it will cover 90 years.
As you might surmise, this database takes in some people from surrounding towns, too.
Know the name you're looking for? Great. Just want to browse? You can do that, too. Just pick a letter of the alphabet. I found nine pages of surnames beginning with "M." The listing is easy to peruse, including maiden names for women, place and date of birth if known, place of death, date of death - info that helps you decide whether you want to look a obituary itself.
Places of death included locations such as Dexter, Randolph, Hartland, Portland, Gardiner, Lakeview Plantation, Greenville, Dover-Foxcroft, Bangor, Corinna, Pittsfield, Milo and other states.
Now, you might ask, why we simply suggest looking up obtiuaries in the Bangor Daily? That's good idea, too - if you know date.
If the person died in Maine between 1960 and 1996, you always look for the date or Maine State Archives Web www.state.maine.us/sos/arc, click on "genealogy"
Once you have the date, check every newspaper you know of in the area where the person lived or died - the largest collection of Maine newspapers on microfilm being available at Fogler Library, University of Maine, Orono.
Before 1960, it can be difficult to find a date unless you go to the archives or know where the person died.
The Bangor Daily News was not indexed years ago, and in fact the best index for the NEWS and the Bangor Commercial - an index covering only the Bangor area for most of the 20th century - is available in a card catalog in the Bangor Room at Bangor Public Library
One other source you can try on the Internet for a death date, of course, is databases for Social Security. Do a search on "Social Security Death Index," and you'll find at least a couple of them.
Also, for death dates and obituaries from 1999 and now, you can check the Bangor Daily News Web site at www.bangornews.com and click on obituaries, underneath "Announcements." There is no charge for printing out these obituaries. All these methods can be helpful, but any genealogist can tell you how nice it is to have a database you can browse, such as the one from Abbott Memorial Library (two t's, as opposed to the town of Abbot, one t).
Browsing is a good way to stumble across the name you forgot to look for.
If you are in Dexter's corner of Penobscot County, or next door in Piscataquis County, do drop by the library on Church Street, right in the center of town - you can't miss it. It's open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday; 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Last week we mentioned the 1880 census for the U.S., CDs available for purchase through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Web site at www.familysearch.org.
These are transcribed records - a very nice thing, but I wanted to follow up by checking the interpretation of the penmanship of the census takers.
We start with the assumption that the census takers got some of the spellings wrong, especially when those they visited may have spoken French, for example. I remember one census that spelled Chasse as "Shashe."
My question here was, regard less of the accuracy of the census takers, was what they wrote transcribed correctly?
The transcribers did pretty well in most cases.
"Belonga" was accurately copied from the census for Caribou as "Belonga." Of course, that no doubt was the French name Belanger, pronounced BELL-on-zhay
Another name was transcribed as "Gimnio," but after looking at it on the census, I think it was written "Gimmo," which is more often spelled Jamo nowadays.
As for "Rosighaul," we may know that was really "Rossignol," but I checked the census taker's penmanship, and "Rosighaul" is what he wrote.
Send queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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